Valentine’s day is traditionally when we express our love, but why limit ourselves? Today I’m sharing a love-filled gift that is perfect for anytime of year.
For my husband’s 30th birthday, I surprised him with a box of love letters written by 71 of his friends and family. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate and honor Nate’s first 30 years of life. The gift cost me very little, but was worth so much.
My husband’s letters weren’t filled with lines of romance. Instead, I asked his family and friends to express how much they appreciate Nate. It was touching to see the letters come flooding into my mail box and to know that each one was singing the praises of my husband. I collected all the letters in a box, wrapped them like a regular birthday gift, and presented them to my husband on his birthday.
I highly recommend giving the gift of love letters. It is a inexpensive and only takes some organization to pull it off.
Tips for Giving the Gift of Love Letters:
1. Start early to give people plenty of time to write and return their letters.
2. Type out a clear instructional letter to explain the gift of love letters and how you want friends and family to help you. Make sure to include:
- A deadline for returning letters
- Instructions for how to return the letters – I asked people to hand them to me in person, email me, or mail them with only my name on the envelope. For privacy, people were encouraged to send their letters in a separate sealed envelope.
- Suggestions for what to include in the letter – I suggested that people include a humorous story, a time when Nate made a difference in their day, qualities of Nate that they admire, and/or why they value Nate’s friendship.
3. The more personalized the letters the better. Encourage each member of families to write their own letter instead of one letter per family. Even children can include a letter.
4. Ask as many people as possible to write a letter. I’m not suggesting that you betray the trust of your loved one, but… I hacked into my husband’s Facebook account to help build the list of people I requested letters from. I copied his friends list and then sent messages through Facebook to people I thought would want to contribute. It worked out well since Facebook allows you to send messages to people who aren’t on your own friends list. I also sent requests to a couple of contacts at Nate’s work that were able to distribute my request to the rest of his colleagues.
5. Use email and Facebook to cut down on the cost. I sent the vast majority of my request letters through email and Facebook. The rest I mailed, but the cost was very minimal. A frugal, but fabulous gift!
6. Give the recipient space and time to read the letters. A gift like this is extremely touching, but may be a bit overwhelming. It took Nate several days to read through his letters. Don’t rush it and certainly don’t sit there staring at them as they read each letter. Let the recipient have the personal and private time they need to process such a thoughtful gift.
Is there someone in your life you could bless with the gift of love letters? I received this same gift when I was in high school. I still have each letter and can’t image ever throwing them out.
Let’s not just say, “I love you” to those we love. Let’s tell them why we love them!